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FROM THE OFFICE OF
SENATOR JOAN B. LOVELY

2nd Essex District

Beverly, Danvers, Peabody, Salem, and Topsfield
Dear Neighbor,

Good afternoon! I hope you enjoyed the holidays and again happy new year!

Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to attend inauguration ceremonies in Beverly, Peabody, and Salem. I would like to congratulate all the new and returning local officials around the North Shore who are beginning or continuing their public service. I look forward to building on our partnerships and improving the quality of life for all residents in our region and across the Commonwealth.

2016 has already had a productive start in the Senate and I wanted to share the latest news from my State House office with you. This update highlights several announcements and policy initiatives that affect all Massachusetts residents, especially those of us on the North Shore. I hope this update is helpful and as always, please feel free to contact my office with any questions.
                                                              
                                                                      Thanks for reading,
                                                                             
                                                                      Joan B. Lovely
                                 

Connect with me on Facebook & Twitter!
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Appointment to the Senate Committee on Ways and Means

I am happy to announce my appointment to the Senate Committee on Ways and Means! The bipartisan committee considers the state budget and all matters relating to the finances of the Commonwealth. In the coming weeks I will be joining the committee for public hearings across Massachusetts to hear testimony on the newly proposed state budget. I would like to thank Senate President Rosenberg for this appointment and I look forward to joining the debate on important fiscal issues facing the Commonwealth.
Public Records Reform
On January 28, I stood with Senate President Stanley Rosenberg, Senate Ways and Means Chairwoman Karen Spilka, and several of my Senate colleagues to detail the Senate's proposal to reform Massachusetts's public records law. The Senate plan includes quicker response times to public records requests, lower charges for acquiring public information, and effective remedies when public records are withheld. Overall, the bill connects people with public information more efficiently and modernizes the current law to bring it into the 21st Century. I have enjoyed working on this issue since becoming the Senate Chair of the Joint Committee of State Administration and Regulatory Oversight last year and I look forward to the upcoming Senate debate on the proposal.  
Peabody State of the City Address
On January 26, I spoke to local officials and business owners at the Peabody Area Chamber of Commerce's (PACC) State of the City Legislative Update. During my remarks to the group, I focused on key issues from the past year that affect the North Shore and its residents. More specifically, these topics included overhauling the management at the MBTA, implementing new policies to address the opioid crisis, and expanding the earned income tax credit to lift up hard-working families. Thank you to PACC President Deanne Healey and all of its members for a great conversation on how we can work together to make the North Shore an even better place for families and businesses to live and work.
MBTA Public Hearing in Lynn

On January 25, the MBTA hosted a public meeting on fare proposal and commuter rail schedule changes at Breed Middle School in Lynn. Based on my personal experiences and countless emails from North Shore commuters, I testified at the meeting. I emphasized the ongoing unpredictability in service and the need for better fare collection methods as a way to maximize revenue. If you were not able to attend the meeting, the MBTA has provided important information on its website regarding the fare proposal and Commuter Rail schedule changes. To join the conversation and submit comments on either proposal, you may email fareproposal@mbta.com or crschedules@mbta.com.

Interested in more information about these proposals and how it affects you?
Veterans’ Services Officer Legislative Luncheon
On January 20, I joined Governor Baker and Representative Tucker in welcoming veterans' services officers (VSOs) from across the Commonwealth to the State House, including Salem VSO Kim Emerling. The event highlighted how Massachusetts ranks as one of the top states for programs and services for veterans, while recognizing the ongoing need for veterans' housing and employment opportunities. Thank you to all of our local VSOs for working each day to make sure our veterans have the support they deserve!
Recap of Senate Formal Sessions

Since the beginning of the year, the Senate has passed several important pieces of legislation that I proudly supported:

An Act to prohibit the use of mobile telephones while operating a motor vehicle only allows the hands-free use of mobile devices while driving, except for specific emergency situations. The bill aims to limit distracted driving, which accounted for 26% of the 30,000 lives lost in motor vehicle accidents in 2013. 14 states currently ban the use of handheld devices for all drivers and the bill intends to improve enforcement of the existing 2010 law that banned texting while driving in Massachusetts. The bill now moves on to the House of Representatives for consideration.

An Act to establish pay equity strengthens the Massachusetts Equal Pay Act to further close the wage gap between male and female workers in the Commonwealth. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a woman working full time in Massachusetts earns 82 cents for every dollar a man in Massachusetts earns. A report by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research projects that the gender wage gap in Massachusetts will not close on its own until 2058. I co-sponsored the original draft of this bill to take meaningful action to bridge the gender wage gap. The bill ensures equal pay for comparable work, establishes pay transparency, and requires fairness in hiring practices. The bill now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.

An Act relative to 2030 and 2040 emissions benchmarks sets out to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and develops a long-term, comprehensive adaptation management action plan to address the consequences of climate change. The emissions limit for 2030 would be 35%-45% below the 1990 emissions level and the emissions limit for 2040 would be 55%-65% below the 1990 emissions level. Among other items, the management action plan would assess the Commonwealth's preparedness and vulnerabilities in emergency response, energy, transportation, communications, and health systems based on the effects of climate change.

The Massachusetts Senate recently launched its Kids First initiative and I look forward to joining Senator Sal DiDomenico and 7 of my Senate colleagues on this critical effort to support all children in the Commonwealth. The goal of Kids First is to develop short-term and long-term recommendations to ensure children in Massachusetts are on a path to future success. By combining best practices with innovative ideas in education, public health, housing, and workforce development, the Commonwealth can make stronger, more targeted investments in Massachusetts's children. 

February District Hours
Beverly Council on Aging
February 5, 9-10AM

Danvers Council on Aging
February 12, 9-10AM

Peabody Council on Aging
February 19, 9-10AM

Salem Council on Aging
February 26, 9-10AM

Topsfield Town Library
February 26, 12-1PM

Please call (617) 722-1410 to schedule an appointment with my office.
 
OFFICE CONTACT INFORMATION
T: (617) 722-1410  
E: Joan.Lovely@masenate.gov  
F: (617) 722-1347