Gabriela Dreyer Romanow sends this along. So here's an achievable stretch goal for 2017: Getting half the Republicans in the region to back my legislation to institute Commonwealth Carbon Pricing -- carbon pricing for Massachusetts.
This is the time for criminal justice reform in Massachusetts. We're set: we're fueled up; we've started the engines; we're ready for take-off. That's the message delivered recently by a large group of State Senators, me included.
10 State Senators share criminal justice proposals at a major press conference
For my part, I've submitted legislation to minimize "fine time" in Massachusetts -- the now-notorious practice by district court judges of incarcerating defendants solely for failure to pay fines, fees and court costs. In November, as chair of a Senate investigative committee, I released a special report. We identified 105 individuals compelled to serve "fine time" in 2015. 60% of these defendants were indigent; 10 were described as unemployed; 5 were described as homeless. Yet all were imprisoned solely for the inability to pay these various "user fees."
I recently took part in a panel discussion in Concord on the financial burden we place on people who come into contact with the criminal justice system.
Speaking in Concord on the need to minimize "fine time" in Mass.
The legislation I've filed for this year would eliminate several unnecessary fees. The bill also ensures that defendants will have the protection of an attorney before losing their liberty in such situations.
Sen. Mike Barrett
Tourism takes center stage
At the State House, I caught up with Lexington civic leaders Michelle Ciccolo, Dawn McKenna, and Jim Shaw. The topic at hand: funding for tourism, a big driver of visits to local businesses.
Getting political advice from a perceptive group: Cub Scouts from Sudbury Pack 80.
Clean energy advocates make a big showing
Led by climate champion (and constituent) Launa Zimmaro, clean energy advocates came by to see me at the State House. We chatted about maximizing energy efficiency, advancing energy storage technology, and increasing access to solar power.