House passes college closure bill

Earlier this month, I took the House floor as Chair of the Higher Education Committee to advance a bill that will improve financial stability in higher education.

Designed as a response to the closing of Mt. Ida College in 2018, and a wave of other higher education closures, the legislation requires schools to post financial information online in a publicly accessible fashion, undergo regular budgetary screening, alert state officials if they face imminent closure, and more. The new accountability measures will foster the resilience of our institutions of higher learning and ensure that our students have access to the opportunities they are counting on.  

This legislation supports and strengthens our higher education system and these vital engines of opportunity, and in so doing, protects the interests of students and families. I was proud to stand up for students, their families and the education community. When students invest in their future, they deserve to know that their college stands on a solid foundation.

You can view the text of the legislation by clicking here. You can view the video of the speech I delivered by clicking here. You can read the Milford Daily News report on the bill by clicking here and my blog post by clicking here.

Rep. Roy teamed up with Medway's Caroline Williams to get menstrual products in school bathrooms in Massachusetts. This effort was picked up by NBC Boston and reporter Monica Madeja which you can see in the video above. You can read more about the effort in this Boston Globe report by clicking here.

SNETT trail funding

Funding for the Prospect Street tunnel along the Southern New England Trunkline Trail (SNETT) has been approved this week and the project will go out to bid in the fall. A total of $1.3 million, over two fiscal years, will be funded from the Department of Conservation and Recreation’s (DCR) Trails Capitol Project.

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Public Higher Ed Campus Tours

The Joint Committee on Higher Education began started on its mission to visit all 29 public colleges and universities in the commonwealth on Friday, September 27. The tour began in North Adams at the beautiful Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, tucked in the Berkshires in northwestern Massachusetts.

Over the next several months, the Committee will be visiting each campus to get a first-hand look at the facilities, meet with faculty and administrators, and hear from students about their experiences. The tours will include meetings with campus leaders, faculty, staff, and students at each of the institutions. So far, we have also toured Berkshire Community College, UMass Amherst, and Greenfield Community College. On Friday, October 18 we head to Salem State University and North Shore Community College.

"It's ambitious, but when appointed to chair this committee, one of the very first things I did was to print out a map of the 29 public institutions in the Commonwealth to plan the trip," said Representative Roy. "We want to experience what life is like on these campuses which should provide a better context for the budget and legislative decisions we make. And the tours will provide an up close and personal view of each campus to give us a better perspective on the issues faced by those in each academic community.”

You can see photos from our tours on Facebook by clicking here.

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Genocide Education Act

Last week, I joined my colleagues to testify in support of the Genocide Education Act. The goal of this legislation is to teach that genocide is not just somebody else’s story. By including genocide in the curriculum, students will have the opportunity to explore how stereotypes, prejudice, and religious and ethnic hatred can escalate to atrocity. Inclusion of genocide education also seeks to deter indifference to crimes against humanity and human suffering wherever they may occur.

Education is key to combating the hatred that surrounds genocide. Knowledge of those dark days — for which there are no words to fully capture their utter depravity, cruelty and horror — is a crucial element for the prevention of genocide in the future.

The Boston Globe ran an op-ed piece on the legislation which you can find by clicking here. The Milford Daily News report on the bill can be found by clicking here.

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Student recognized

Franklin 5th grader Grace Chen was awarded a grant this past spring through Youth Service America (YSA) and with the help of the Keller Student Council and Best Buddies Program assembled 3 raised garden beds outside of the Keller school. Grace planted seeds and nurtured living organisms which provided food for people in need. From the gardens, she donated 45 pounds of food to the Franklin Food Pantry. In so doing, Grace not only honored her name, but also her school’s core values by being a caring, inclusive, intelligent, and unique individual.

In speaking with Grace and her schoolmates, Rep. Roy reminded them of what Horace Mann once said: “While, to a certain extent, you are to live for yourselves in this life, to a greater extent you are to live for others…. And I beseech you to treasure up in your hearts these my parting words: Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity."

Grace's act in cultivating a garden that feeds people in need is surely the first of many victories she will win for humanity.


October office hours

Have any questions or concerns about your state government?  Please join me at office hours! We will be at the Franklin Senior Center on Thursday, October 17, 2019 at 8:30 a.m. and in Medway at TC Scoops on Thursday, October 24, 2019 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.

All office hours are open to any residents of Franklin and Medway who may have questions or concerns that they wish to bring to my attention.  Walk-ins are welcome; no appointment necessary.
Copyright © 2019 State Rep Jeff Roy, All rights reserved.

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