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FROM THE OFFICE OF
SENATOR JOAN B. LOVELY

2nd Essex District

Beverly, Danvers, Peabody, Salem, and Topsfield
Good morning, Neighbor!

I wanted to take this opportunity to update you on the latest news from my Senate office. Since the summer, the Senate has debated and passed several important pieces of legislation that aim to address issues impacting residents in all corners of the Commonwealth. As you will see below, the Senate recently passed two bills that enhance substance abuse prevention and make important criminal justice reforms.

In addition to the work at the State House, this email highlights several events, local programs, and grant announcements that have occurred on the North Shore over the past two months. I hope you find this update to be helpful and as always, please feel free to contact my office with any questions.
                                                              
                                                                      Thanks for reading,
                                                                             
                                                                      Joan B. Lovely
                                     

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An Act Relative to Substance Use Prevention

On October 1, the Senate passed "An Act relative to substance use prevention". With an emphasis on prescription drug practices, drug takeback options, and verbal screenings in our schools, the bill takes another crucial step towards combating Massachusetts’s opioid crisis. As Senate Vice-Chair of the Committee on Mental Health and Substance Abuse and member of the Special Senate Committee on Opioid Addiction Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery Options in the Commonwealth, I was proud to support this legislation that calls for several critical new measures, including:

- Requiring that certain opiate prescriptions be written in an “up to” quantity, allowing patients to voluntarily reduce the amount dispensed, while also requiring that prescribers educate patients about their right to receive lesser quantities of opiates;

- An expanded prescription take back program to further limit the excessive number of unwanted and unused prescription pills that become accessible to youth and adults for misuse;

- Verbal screenings by a qualified and properly trained professional to ask middle and high school children about their attitudes and behaviors about drugs and alcohol. The screenings would help prevent further misuse of drugs and refer at-risk teens to treatment.


The bill now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.
 
An Act Relative to Motor Vehicle License Suspension

On September 24, the Senate unanimously voted to pass, "An Act relative to motor vehicle license suspension". I co-sponsored the original draft of this bill because Massachusetts currently has a system in place that suspends a person’s license for an offense unrelated to driving. The bill would repeal the current law that subjects individuals convicted of a non-violent drug offense to an automatic license suspension for up to five years and a license reinstatement fee of $500. The legislation would have no effect on license suspension penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. Breaking the law has consequences, but after a person pays his/her debt to society, the focus should be on making sure that person turns his/her life around. With the passage of this bill, the turnaround is easier because a person would retain his/her license and be able to get to a job or to a treatment facility. 34 states, including every other New England state, have already taken action to repeal similar laws that penalize every drug offense with a license suspension. The bill now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Genetic Engineering Transparency Food and Seed Labeling Act
To ensure that Massachusetts residents have access to all available information about the food products they purchase, I co-sponsored the Genetic Engineering Transparency Food and Seed Labeling Act. The bill would require foods containing GMOs to be properly labeled. Since up to 80% of the processed foods sold in the United States are at least partially produced from genetic engineering, it's important for Massachusetts to join the 64 countries that already have similar mandates. Constituents from every community I represent have reached out to my office and expressed their support for labeling GMO products, so I am happy to partner with the 154 legislative cosponsors and countless advocates to support Massachusetts consumers.
Resolve Studying Ways to Prevent Bullying of Tenants in Public Housing

On September 21, I visited the Peabody Council on Aging to speak with seniors about a piece of legislation I filed that would study ways to prevent bullying of tenants in public and subsidized housing. Partnering with a Peabody constituent, I sponsored a resolve this session that would establish a commission to study the prevalence and impact of the bullying of tenants in public and subsidized multi-family housing. The commission will have a special focus on older adults and people with disabilities as it gathers research, identifies best practices, and makes recommendations to mitigate the frequency of bullying in the public housing setting.  Regarding the current status of the bill, the Joint Committee on Housing recently voted in favor of the resolve as it continues to move through the legislative process.
Senior CharlieCard Day at the Peabody Council on Aging

Recently, my office hosted a Senior CharlieCard Day at the Peabody Council on Aging. I want to thank all the staff and volunteers at the Peabody Council on Aging for hosting and helping coordinate this important event to help eligible seniors access discounts for public transportation. The event was a tremendous success and attracted over 225 seniors from all over the North Shore! On September 28, my office hand-delivered the applications to the CharlieCard store in Boston and the CharlieCards will be mailed to participating seniors in the coming weeks. If you, or someone you know, may be interested in attending a future Senior CharlieCard Day, please feel free to contact my office for more information.  
ALS Ice Bucket Challenge at the State House
In August, the State House participated in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge! Representative Paul Tucker and I joined the Frates family and many of our colleagues to raise awareness for this important cause!
Grant Announcements
 
Collins Middle School in Salem
The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education awarded over $475,000 in grant funding to the Collins Middle School in Salem for its expanded learning time initiative. This funding will allow the school to provide additional instruction, enrichment programming, or more opportunities for professional development.

Massachusetts Cultural Council
The Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) approved a total of $94,000 in grants to cultural organizations and schools throughout the Second Essex District. The MCC also directed over $51,000 in funding to the Beverly, Danvers, Peabody, Salem, and Topsfield cultural councils. The grants support a wide range of programming designed to promote the arts and support the creative economy in our local communities.

Municipality Recycling Grants
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) awarded a total of $23,450 to Second Essex District communities for recycling, composting, and waste reduction programs. The funding may be used to maximize these programs or for community outreach to promote recycling or reuse.
 

October District Hours
Beverly Council on Aging
Friday, October 2nd, 9-10AM

Danvers Council on Aging
Friday, October 9th, 9-10AM

Peabody Council on Aging
Friday, October 16th, 9-10AM

Salem Council on Aging
Friday, October 23rd, 9-10AM

Topsfield Town Library
Friday, October 23rd, 12-1PM

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