In the news
Washington Times
A state lawmaker wants to let Massachusetts residents donate to poorer countries hit hardest by climate change when they fill out their tax returns.
Sen. Mike Barrett said his bill is in part a reaction to President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw the United States from the 2015 Paris accord meant to address climate change.

The Bedford Citizen
For the past year and a half, Senator Mike Barrett 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.
Lexington Minuteman
Rep. Jay Kaufman, Sen. Cindy Friedman and Sen. Mike Barrett raised their voices in support of transgender equal rights in the wake of the recent decision to allow a question onto the November 2018 ballot that would repeal equal protections and civil liberties for transgender individuals in Massachusetts.

The Senate
The Boston Globe

The Massachusetts Senate passed a bill Thursday that would give judges the power to strip weapons from individuals flagged as a danger to themselves or others.
After lengthy and emotional debate late Wednesday evening, the Massachusetts Senate adopted a budget amendment to restrict cooperation between local police and federal immigration authorities.
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Dear Friend,
During marathon sessions in May that ran  until 10 pm and later, the Senate adopted a $41.5 billion spending plan for 2019.  As personal priorities, I worked successfully to boost statewide programs for people with disabilities, for job-training for poor people, and for efforts to work with moms who have substance abuse problems that endanger their kids.

In keeping with the idea that politics is about thinking big but acting locally, I was also able to help several community programs, each of them expert in getting the most out of a modest amount of money.   $50,000 went to More Than Words, a Waltham-based non-profit providing at-risk young people with jobs at its bookstore.  $60,000 went to Budget Buddies, a Chelmsford-based non-profit that teaches financial literacy to low-income women.  

Similarly, for the fifth consecutive year, I secured $25,000 to allow the community organization OARS to test water quality in three local rivers -- the Concord, the Assabet, and the Sudbury.

Aware that local needs are substantial, especially in the more diverse parts of my district, I won funding for Waltham's WATCH Community Development Corporation, to help operate its housing clinic, and  the Waltham Community Day Center, which works with homeless clients on housing, mental health, and substance abuse problems.  

Elsewhere, I offered successful amendments to help cover the cost of redesigning Lexington's Visitor's Center and to help Bedford offset the expense of educating high school students living with their families on Hanscom Air Force Base.

Next and final step before the budget arrives on the Governor's desk: a "conference committee," made up of members from both the Senate and the House, must reconcile the two different versions of the bill.

Meanwhile, soon ... very soon ... the Senate will have the opportunity to make history, by becoming the first legislative body in the U.S. to authorize a revenue-neutral carbon fee.  Debate takes place this week, on Thursday.  I'm working very hard on this, so stay tuned.


  Sen. Mike Barrett
I argued that Mass. inmates should not be sent to help Trump build his border wall. The Senate agreed.
In January, Sheriff Thomas Hodgson of Bristol County volunteered his inmates to help build a border wall proposed by President Trump. This would effectively mean sending prisoners -- many serving short sentences for relatively minor crimes -- nearly 3,000 miles away, far from rehabilitation services and their loved ones.
I offered a successful amendment to the budget which would prohibit any sheriff from sending an inmate in his custody out-of-state without meeting certain requirements.
It is not an outright prohibition -- a Sheriff would have the right to transport prisoners out of state to work on certain projects, if they meet the key requirements. The additional oversight of these projects simply protects inmates and ensures Massachusetts tax dollars are not used for frivolous means.

A memorable performance by Waltham High School's showchoir
Following their recent success in state competitions and on WGBH TV's "Sing That Thing!", Waltham High School's show choir regaled the State Senate at the opening of a formal senate session. "Music Unlimited" consists of 43 very accomplished young men and women who are students at the city's public high school.
The group witnessed the swearing-in ceremony of newly elected Senator Nick Collins (D-Boston) before performing two musical numbers -- "Man in the Mirror" and the gospel piece, "Don't Feel No Ways Tired." The choir was led by music teacher and former member Alyssa Cincotta.

Since the performance, my colleagues continue to buttonhole me to tell me what fantastic talents these young people are.