State Senate says Community Access TV should go HD

Submitted by State Senator Mike Barrett (D-Lexington)

Local State Senator Mike Barrett (D-Lexington) joined his Senate colleagues to pass a bill requiring cable companies to provide High Definition (HD) capability to Community Access channels and to include detailed programming information in viewers’ electronic guides.

The bill means that community TV will be on the same playing field as bigger channels. It allows local media stations access to Electronic Programming Guides and channel signal quality that is comparable to pay stations — now and in the future.

Paid Family & Medical Leave: When Everyone Wins, We all Win

By State Rep Ken Gordon

When Governor Charlie Baker signed Paid Family & Medical Leave into law last week – based upon a program that I helped write that was included in a bill that I filed in the House – he introduced a program that will improve the life of every working family in Massachusetts. But just as important, it will provide valuable assistance to small and medium sized business as well.

We all know why a worker would welcome the opportunity to spend 12 weeks with a newborn or newly adopted child, without worrying about how they will pay the rent. Our imaginations don’t have to stray too far to guess why a worker confined to a hospital recovering from a heart attack, stroke or effects of surgery would welcome 20 weeks of paid leave. Or why a worker would treasure the opportunity to have the time to console a hospitalized child, spouse or aging parent without the stress of bills going unpaid.

Legislature Passes Rep. Gordon’s Bill To Create Paid Family and Medical Leave As Part of “Grand Bargain”

Submitted by the Office of State Representative Ken Gordon (D-Bedford)

The Massachusetts House and Senate passed a statewide program that will provide a Paid Family and Medical Leave program to most all workers in the Commonwealth, as part of a consolidated bill that will also incrementally raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour over five years and raise the minimum wage for tipped workers to $6.75. The bill will also create a permanent sales tax holiday each August and eliminate the requirement that employers pay their workers time a half on Sundays and holidays.

Rep. Gordon authored much of the Paid Family Leave bill that was incorporated in the package. He spoke about the family leave policy at the State House as 126 House members voted in favor of the bill, to 25 against. In the Senate, the bill passed 30-8.

State Senate Makes History by Voting a Carbon Pricing Program for Massachusetts

Submitted by the office of State Senator Mike Barrett (D-Lexington)

In passing a major clean energy bill today, the Massachusetts State Senate voted to authorize the most comprehensive carbon pricing program in the country. Its author, State Sen. Mike Barrett (D-Lexington), told his colleagues, “In taking a fresh run at combating climate change, you’re putting Massachusetts state government at the forefront — right where our constituents want it to be.”

The action made history, in that the Senate became the first legislative body in the U.S., either federal or state, to approve revenue-neutral fees as a carbon pricing option. If the policy survives intact after debate in the Massachusetts House and is signed into law, the Commonwealth will also become only the second state, after California, to extend the concept of carbon pricing to transportation.

Sen. Barrett on Internet Privacy

Submitted by Sen. Mike Barrett (D-Lex)

The Massachusetts State Senate has taken a major new step to protect the social media accounts of students and employees in the Commonwealth.

For the past year and a half, Senator Mike Barrett (D-Lexington) has served as an original cosponsor of “An Act relative to social media privacy protection,” which passed the Senate last week. The legislation prevents employers and schools from requesting or requiring access to the personal social media accounts of employees, students, and job or school applicants as conditions of acceptance, employment, or participation in school activities.

Celebrating Their Nineties

Compiled by The Bedford Citizen

State Representative Ken Gordon (D-Bedford) visited Ashby Place this week bearing a clutch of citations honoring residents who are either in or are about to enter their tenth decade. The citations were inscribed, “The House of Representatives offers its sincerest congratulations in recognition of your 90 wonderful years.”

The residents honored at Monday’s birthday luncheon included Ahmad Asapour, Mary Biggio, Jinyuan Dong, Carol Mudgett, and Chi Leung Yeung.

A Year After Trump Nixed Paris, Senator Pushes a Novel Response

Submitted by the Office of State Senator Mike Barrett (D-Lexington)

On the first anniversary of the Trump Administration’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement, State Senator Mike Barrett (D-Lexington) is promoting innovative legislation that would change Massachusetts tax forms and let taxpayers direct voluntary contributions, over and above their regular payments, to poverty-stricken countries hit hardest by climate change.

The full title of Barrett’s bill is An Act enabling taxpayer donations to the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF), an initiative of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Rep. Gordon, House Pass Legislation to Temporarily Suspend a Gun License from Those Who Pose a Risk to Themselves or Others

Submitted by Representative Ken Gordon

Representative Ken Gordon(D-Bedford)joined his colleagues in the House to establish a process for family, household members or licensing authorities (petitioners) to petition the court for an Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) for individuals who “pose a risk of causing bodily injury to self or others” by owning, possessing or having a firearm. An ERPO, if issued by the court, is in effect for up to one year and results in the immediate suspension and surrender of all firearms and ammunition.

Licensing authorities are required to provide the recipient of ERPO with a list of services “relating to crisis intervention, mental health, substance abuse and counseling.”

“This is a well-balanced and common sense approach to protecting our residents” said Representative Ken Gordon.

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