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Happy New Year

Please accept my best wishes to you and your family for a Happy New Year. It has been an honor and privilege to represent Franklin and Medway in the House of Representatives for the past three years, and I am grateful to you for your continued support and guidance.

These monthly newsletters offer an opportunity to share what is happening in our communities and on Beacon Hill. I would love to hear your thoughts or ideas for items that you would like to see included in future issues. The easiest way to get information to me is by clicking here to send an email. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this latest issue of the State House Report.

Again, I wish you the best in 2016 and urge you to stay in touch.


Community Conversation with Seniors on Jan. 15

Rep. Roy is hosting a community conversation with senior citizens to discuss issues that impact their lives and to provide information on the various state programs available to them. Area seniors, their loved ones, and caregivers are invited to the event that will take place on Friday, January 15, 2016 at 10:30 a.m. at the Franklin Senior Center, 10 Daniel McCahill St, Franklin, MA 02038

Roy’s special guest for the event is State Representative Denise C. Garlick (D-Needham), the House Chair of the Joint Committee on Elder Affairs. Garlick, who is also a registered nurse, will speak about the $3.5 billion dollars allocated to the Executive Office of Elder Affairs and MassHealth for senior programs. Aside from MassHealth, Garlick will address other funded initiatives including homecare and nursing homes, prescription drug assistance, council on aging funding, protective services, elder housing, and nutrition programs.

In addition to the presentation, Roy and Garlick will field questions and take feedback on what areas need improvement. Attendees will also be given surveys to submit anonymously, which ask about access to transportation, ability to afford basic necessities and healthcare, senior employment opportunities in the community, and availability of senior housing. The survey results will help the Committee on Elder Affairs set priorities for the coming year in an effort to serve elders more effectively.

“We are looking forward to listening to the issues, needs and concerns of the seniors in the community in order to plan for the future,” said Rep. Roy. “Expanding access to elder programs is something myself and Representative Garlick explore regularly, and it is our hope that this community conversation will provide additional data and input to inform the decision-making at the state level. I have had the pleasure of meeting with the seniors for the past three years and I am delighted that the House Chairman of the Joint Committee on Senior Affairs is coming to Franklin to further these discussions.”

"Twenty years from now the majority of people in Massachusetts will be 60 years old or older," said Rep. Garlick. "We have to make sure that the resources we have are meeting the needs. I'm coming to Franklin to get feedback from seniors on whether what we are doing is enough or whether we need to do more in certain areas."

All seniors are welcome, with a special invitation to seniors from Rep. Roy’s district of Franklin and Medway. Any questions or concerns can be directed to Rep. Roy’s State House office at (617) 722-2020. You can also stop by Room 527A in the State House, or email his aide Chris by clicking here.

Lawmakers ask for review of crumb rubber

Rep Roy joined his colleagues in a request to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) for further investigation into the safety of crumb rubber turf fields.

Our office has received many reports, and one recently from Mass DPH, that the fields are safe, and we have not received any information about harm to any area residents. But conflicting scientific analyses, and a desire to err on the side of caution, caused us to reach out to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission for further study. Having more information is always welcome.

Fox 25 ran a segment on the issue which you can view by clicking on the image above or here. You can read the Milford Daily News report by clicking here.

House passes measure to improve public records laws 

Rep. Roy joined his House colleagues to pass legislation that updates its public records laws and enhances accountability measures. The legislation enumerates a timeframe and process in which requested documents must be produced and ensures that judicial remedies can be sought.

“These reforms will significantly enhance accountability, access to public records, and enforcement,” said Rep. Roy. “Our greatest asset in Massachusetts is our civic-minded citizenry and it is my hope that this bill will foster increased and productive engagement from the public. This legislation ensures that Massachusetts’ residents have access to a modern and strong public records law.” 

This consensus legislation represents the first update to state’s public records law in more than 40 years. Under the bill, Massachusetts will have standardized processes through which the public can access records and new guidelines for the fees associated with obtaining documents.

The judicial provisions, processes and remedies contained in this bill significantly heighten enforceability and accountability measures. Previously courts were unable to award attorney fees, address improperly incurred costs or award civil damages. 

Additionally, the bill expands the Attorney General’s powers by granting the Attorney General the power to file an enforcement suit against any agency or municipality, and intervene in cases involving public records.

This bill follows the launch of free public WiFi to the State House and the Legislature’s updated website which received the Online Democracy Award, initiatives intended to facilitate public engagement.

Substance use disorder

Rep. Roy attended several meetings focused on substance use disorder during December. These included continued work with the S.A.F.E. Coalition, discussions at the MIAA (Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association) on health and wellness issues for student athletes, and a visit to a halfway house.

At the MIAA meetings, Rep. Roy met with leaders from the MIAA, Department of Elementary and Seconday Education (DESE), Department of Public Health (DPH), the Bureau of Substance Abuse Services (BSAS), and the Norfolk DA's office. It was an engaging and thoughtful discussion of the isuues and potential solutions.

Rep Roy also had an extraordinary visit at Hurley House, a halfway house in Waltham. It included a tour of the facility, dinner with the guests, a house meeting, and meetings with staff and residents. The visit gave a fresh prospective on the recovery journey, and offered a great deal of hope. Many thanks to Medway's Dave Moore (pictured above) for hosting the visit.

All of the events demonstrated the commitment at multiple levels to addressing this public health crisis, and the work is sure to continue until we find a cure.

Medway pocket park

Rep. Roy joined several local officials in Medway to celebrate the "official opening" of the pocket park at the corner of Main Street and Mechanic Street. It's a beautiful new park which compliments the new sidewalks, street lights and landscaping that will come with the Route 109 construction project next year.

There will be additional pocket parks along Main Street that will make Medway a more walkable community.

Many local business contributed to this park including TC Scoops, Bellingham Home Depot, Medway Gardens, Jeff Bailey Masonry, Fasolino Landscape, and Patriot Real Estate. Special thanks go to Paul Yorkis for being a driving force behind the beautification effort.

Franklin students visit State House

Rep. Roy hosted 65 5th graders from Oak Street Elementary School in Franklin. A week before the visit, Rep. Roy met with them at the school to prepare for the trip.

It was a great day and we started out in front of the golden dome, viewed the JFK and Horace Mann statues, and took in all of the sites in the People's House. We even had the honor of hearing from former Rep. Dan Ranieri who came along on the tour with his grandson and daughter.

The students were very engaging and well prepared with questions and answers. Kudos to their teachers who obviously did a great job with the government curriculum.

It was an honor to have the students visit, and it was made even more special by the cards and letters sent in by them re-capping the day.

Thank to the staff and students at Oak Street Elementary for show-casing what a great school system we have in Franklin and for representing our community so well. The future looks good in your hands.

FHA groundbreaking

Rep. Roy joined the Franklin Housing Authority along with many State and Local officials at the groundbreaking for a new home in Franklin on Plain Street for people with intellectual disabilities.

There is a desperate need for this type of housing in Franklin, and it will benefit many residents who have to travel far to visit family members. It will be a wonderful home and a welcome addition to the neighborhood.

Congratulations to the Housing Authority and Franklin officials for having the vision to bring this project to fruition. For the Milford Daily News report on the project, click here.

Franklin school tours

Rep. Roy was honored to spend a great day touring the Franklin public schools with the new School Committee members and administrators.

We had a chance to see what is happening in our schools, meet with Principals, and chat with students in their learning environment. It was impressive to see active and engaged learners reading, writing, speaking, and working on projects.

The visits included a stop by the forensics lab, several music classes, the FHS theater, and project rooms. It was encouraging to see the technology in action with Chromebooks throughout the system. We also had one group of elementary students read to us from books they created. We ended the day with a group photo at the outdoor reading area at the Jefferson Elementary School.

Thanks to the enthusiastic students, teachers and administrators who made the visits worthwhile and meaningful.
Copyright © 2015 State Rep Jeff Roy, All rights reserved.

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