At the State House

October 3, 2017

CIT – Police Mental Health Training Legislation Hearing

I want thank Chairman Naughton, Chair of the Public Safety Committee, for scheduling a public hearing on many bills that pertain to the training and protection of our public safety officers. It is very timely that these bills have a hearing and continue to progress through the legislative process.

After a number of years meeting with police officers, and their associations, I filed a bill this session to increase the Critical Incident Training (CIT) offered to our police officers.

CIT is a 40-hour block of training that specifically addresses de-escalation tactics for public safety officers confronting people in crisis associated with mental illness or substance addiction. It is critical training that has proven to save lives.

The goal of the legislation I filed is to expand the access of this specific kind of training to more officers across the Commonwealth. Currently, few officers have the opportunity to receive this training, as it is only available through a limited number of competitive grant opportunities. If we as a state are able to offer more of this training to more officers throughout Massachusetts we will be taking an important step forward in addressing the mental health and substance abuse crisis many of our residents are facing as well as taking the opportunity to get the ball rolling on the criminal justice reform our legislature is currently seeking.

CIT – Police Mental Health Training Legislation Hearing

May 22, 2017

Social Studies and civic education in the Commonwealth need an update and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is considering such an update as I write.  Thus, Senator Chandler and I believe this a great time to focus on improving civic education given that voter turnout among young people continues to be very low.

I am proposing that  a project-based approach requiring students to interact with government on a topic that interests them be added to a civics curriculum.  Other proposals include adding a financial literacy requirement and a public service component to civic education.

I want to thank the many teachers, activists and citizens who are contributing to this conversation!  Most recently, this included teachers from the Merrimack Valley, and members of the Haverhill League of Women Voters and the Haverhill Democratic Committee.  Thanks also to Mayor Fiorentini, City Councillor Andy Vargas and School Committee Member Gail Sullivan for participating in recent discussions.  There will be many more conversations on this topic as this legislation moves through the legislative process. Let me know your thoughts about Civic Education!

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May 22, 2017

Sascha, my legislative Aide, and I,  were honored to be recognized by the MPSCA for Animal Cruelty legislation that we sponsored together last session. This legislation that was signed into law will make it easier to prosecute animal cruelty cases quickly and will be very helpful to both the MSPCA and cities and towns throughout the Commonwealth.  Thank you to the MSPCA, President Carter Luke, Kara Holmquist, and all who work for and support this great and respected organization.   They do amazing work!


(Boston, MA, 05/09/17) MSPCA Lobby Day at the State House on Tuesday, May 09, 2017. Staff photo by Matt Stone mspca pic 2
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May 18, 2017

I was very pleased that a bill regarding student safety at school bus stops received a public hearing early on in our session.  I am also pleased that Leader Donato and Chairman Straus, Chair of our Transportation Committee, filed similar bills.  This legislation that I filed would allow communities the option of placing camera on the back of school buses to prevent individuals from illegally passing school buses while they are stopped. The legislation would also set in place a rigorous framework to ensure privacy and dispose of any tapes not used in a criminal investigation.


May 9, 2017

Chapter 90 Funding

The Massachusetts House passed legislation providing $200 million in funding for future repairs to municipal roads and bridges, also known as Chapter 90 funding. It includes 1.18 million dollars for Methuen. Cumulatively the legislature has allocated 1 billion in bond funding over the past 5 years while still ensuring that we fall under the bond cap to remain fiscally responsible. Additionally, funding is being dispersed allocated last year for municipal bridges in need of repair that are not eligible for federal funding. This program is unique in the U.S.

April 6, 2017

Statewide Disability Abuse Registry

I proposed legislation which would create a state Disability Abuse Registry. This registry would contain information of those who have been reported for abuse in caring for the disabled. This bill, Nicky's Law, is named after a client who was abused by a caretaker who went on to obtain similar employment. Nicky's Law will not prevent all abuse cases from happening, but it will be helpful in reducing incidents of abuse.

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March 16, 2017

Civic Education Bill

I have filed legislation to provide more opportunities for our youth to learn about how government affects their lives and their futures! This legislation brings civic education back to the forefront. It provides a flexible requirement for civics education for all high school students in Massachusetts that both works from the best research we have about ways to get young people engaged while providing flexibility for school districts to meet their own specific needs. Supportive comments from the Superintendents of Methuen and Haverhill outlined the need in the Tribune article below.

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August 10, 2016

Legislative Substance Abuse Highlights- from 2014 - Present

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July 28, 2016

This past weekend the House of Representatives began consideration of overriding  some of Governor Baker’s vetoes for the FY 17 budget.  In considering these overrides,  we took into account reduced revenue estimates and considered items that are essential to maintaining our safety nets and maintaining effective government operations.  Some of these include: mental health services, drug courts, DA offices, early voting for the November election, assistance for the disabled, grants for economic development, and elder services.

These overrides did not add to our budget, but restored cuts that the Governor made to our budget.  We will return this weekend as well to consider some additional overrides and to hopefully finalize some major pieces of legislation including an economic development bill, a comprehensive energy bill, and a bill to regulate ride sharing companies such as Uber and Lyft.  Please do not hesitate to give us a call on budget matters or legislation that is important to you!

July 8, 2016

Linda Campbell and Secretary Jay Ash, Governor Baker’s Secretary of Economic Development and Housing

Last night the Massachusetts House of Representatives passed a major economic development bill providing increased support for Gateway Communities such as Methuen and Haverhill.

Both these communities have received important support through the MASSWORKS program and others that help us to draw business to our communities and improve our downtowns. Also included in this legislation is additional assistance to MA families saving for college tuition, and increased support for our high schools students who wish to take college credit while in high school.
I am here on the House floor with Secretary Jay Ash, Governor Baker’s Secretary of Economic Development and Housing to celebrate this vote and legislation.

June 29, 2016
Methuen awarded $812K in CDBG funds

“This needed grant will contribute substantially to neighborhood revitalization, public safety, housing and needed services for our seniors"

METHUEN — The city is set to receive roughly $812,000 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds to put toward projects and programs to benefit low- to moderate-income residents.

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June 24, 2016
Kathy Moran Wallace

Congratulations and thank you to Kathy Moran Wallace who works at our Nevins Library.  This week at the Statehouse, Kathy was honored by the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women as an "Unsung Heroine. The Commission honors women who may not make the national news but contribute in significant ways to their communities

Whether it has been through her outreach to MAN Inc., bringing resources on-site for reading and craft programs, or her participation in the Neighborhood Christmas Program to ensure that all children can make and bring home a Christmas Craft or gift, Kathy has worked hard to make all children in Methuen and the MAN Inc. community know they are important and loved by their community."

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May 26, 2016
Today presented an opportunity that was a true pleasure.  Having spent six years with the US Army in Germany, I was delighted to have the opportunity to meet with members of the German Parliament and the Consul General, Ralf Horlemann, to discuss how we were able to get our budget passed – and  how they were able to do likewise. While there were many differences in government structure and budget procedures, the art of, and need for, negotiation and compromise was a commonality that we were able to focus on with humor and cordiality.

May 25, 2016

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It is always uplifting to spend time with students from the Methuen Adult Learning Center during their annual visit to the Statehouse. These adult students are working hard to develop the literary skills they need to improve their educational opportunities and gain better employment.

May 25, 2016
Today at the Statehouse we recognized many acts of bravery performed by our State Police, acts of courage that are not publicized. We also honored the memory of Auburn State Police Officer Ron Tarentino Jr.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Auburn Police Officer Ron Tarentino Jr.
What I believe is important to remember about Officer Tarentino Jr. is that the fatal moment he approached Jorge Zambrano’s 1997 Infiniti this past Sunday was not unlike other moments that he or the other brave policemen and policewomen who serve and protect our Commonwealth face every day. Many questions remain as to how this situation developed. These questions will take time to answer.
For now, we should honor Officer Tarentino Jr. and his family and never forget his service to us. I do believe that this moment of profound sadness provides the opportunity to focus on the many police officers who are never recognized, who throw themselves into harm’s way daily because of their commitment to their community and their country.

I Was very proud and thankful to stand with some of my fellow Ways and Means Committee members yesterday as Chairman Dempsey held a press conference outlining the budget just released by the House of Representatives. The 39.4 billion dollar House budget calls for no new taxes or fees, and focuses on a number of policies:  restoring our reserves and reducing our pension liability at a faster clip; increasing aid to education and for substance abuse treatment and prevention; increasing measures to interdict the supply of opiates to include restoring Community Policing Grants. As always, increasing health care costs are the greatest fiscal challenge we face.  This budget institutes some reforms supported by the Governor to help us secure additional federal dollars. We are all filing amendments to this budget and will debate those amendments in a week.

Integrity | Leadership | Results