Updates from Beacon Hill & MetroWest

It is an honor to serve the people of Massachusetts.

As we begin a new legislative session, I am humbled and proud to have been elected by my colleagues to serve the Commonwealth as President of the Massachusetts State Senate for the fourth time. It is the honor of a lifetime to have the opportunity to serve as Senate President, and I am so proud of what the Senate has been able to accomplish.

As we start a new legislative session, I am thinking about the Commonwealth's lodestarpublic education. After 20 years of working to make our K-12 public education formula more predictable and more equitable, passing the Student Opportunity Act soon after I became Senate President remains one of my proudest accomplishments.

Our young people, their families, and our businesses that will one day hire these young people need more than just one Student Opportunity Act, however. To truly succeed as a Commonwealth, we need an entire Student Opportunity Plan. For Massachusetts, opportunity lies in making college more accessible for all, and that starts by making community college free for all.

But it’s not enough to set our young people up for great jobs if they cannot afford to live, work, and start a family here in Massachusetts. For this reason, the Senate's Student Opportunity Plan will include early education and care as well.

Making early education more affordable for families will prepare our children to learn, and ensure that working parents, especially working mothers, are able to stay in the workforce if they want to. When the pandemic hit, more than two million women left the workforce to care for their children, and many were slow to return; to them, early education means not only a better future for their children but also greater stability now.

As always, my office is available if you need assistance or wish to share your opinion. You can email me at karen.spilka@masenate.gov or call 617-722-1500.

Warm regards,

Working with a new administration

At the start of the new year, I became the first woman Senate President to have the honor and privilege of swearing in the first woman elected Governor of Massachusetts—and the first woman duo of Governor and Lieutenant Governor.

I cannot let this moment go by without recognizing the generations of women who came before us, who never stopped hoping for, or working toward this momentous day. I look forward to working with the Healey-Driscoll administration!

On Channel 5's On the Record, I recounted how thrilling it was to swear in Governor Healey: WATCH

Priorities for the 2023-2024 legislative session

The past few years have been among the most turbulent in our nation’s history. Amid this turbulence, Massachusetts gives me hope because we have proven that we have what it takes to tackle big, systemic challenges.

During COVID, we proved that state government can work. We led in public education, health care, and civil rights. Last session we passed not one, but two nation-leading bills addressing climate change. And in the shadow of a national realization that mental health needs are acute in every demographic, I championed a sweeping reform to our mental health care delivery system so that everyone can receive the mental health care they need when they need it.

As we start a new legislative session, some of my priorities include:

  • Making public higher education more affordable to secure opportunities for our residents, develop our workforce, address the racial wealth gap, and keep our state competitive, including by making public community college free for all.

  • Increasing access to affordable, high-quality early education and childcare to prepare our children to learn, and to ensure that working parents, especially working mothers, are able to stay in the workforce if they want to.

  • Lowering the cost of prescription drugs, such as insulin, so that one unplanned medical expense or the cost of prescription drugs will not threaten to wipe out an individual's savings.

  • Delivering permanent and progressive tax relief to lower- and middle-income earners, who have struggled through economic uncertainty, a pandemic and inflation.

In the Senate

Supplemental Budget

The Senate passed a supplemental budget to fund vital services that support vulnerable populations and address food insecurity, housing instability, the state’s long-term COVID-19 response, economic development, essential support services for incoming immigrants and refugees, and more. The bill also extends outdoor dining, remote public meeting access, and support for assisted living residences.


Comprehensive Rules Package

The Senate passed a comprehensive rules package updating the Senate and joint rules to incorporate the best practices learned during the COVID-19 pandemic. This package reflects the societal shift toward hybrid operations while building on the Senate’s commitment to transparency, inclusivity, and equity. 


Galentine's Day

Last month, I inaugurated a new tradition—a Galentine's Day Celebration! Galentine's Day may have come from Leslie Knope on the hit show Parks and Recreation, but I felt that it's also the perfect occasion to celebrate women’s empowerment, leadership, and friendships.

Either by accident or design, women have been left out of our Commonwealth’s story for far too long. I'm happy to say that those days are over. Massachusetts is greater because of women who are visionaries, luminaries, and leading in government, academia, the media, business, philanthropy, and the arts. This was a great night with over a hundred women leaders focusing on what we have accomplished, celebrating the barriers we have broken, rejoicing in our friendships, and having fun.

Above and below are some of the photos from the event, courtesy of Kenny Pierre at United Artistry. You can read more about the event in Politico or in the Boston Globe.

You can learn more about this event, and see photos like the ones below, as well as see videos from notable women like Congresswoman Katherine Clark, Congresswoman Lori Trahan, former Lieutenant Governor Evelyn Murphy, and others here.

Celebrating Women's History & Black History

The back-to-back months celebrating Black History and Women's History hold a special significance in my office, where my HERStory Volume II photo project honors the many women of color, past and present, who have made historic contributions to our Commonwealth. You can learn more at the link, by watching the video above, or by stopping by my office for a visit!

From Abigail Adams to Shirley Chisholm, to modern-day feminists, we owe a debt of gratitude to the trailblazing women who have made us who we are. As the 144th woman elected to the state legislature in Massachusetts, and the third woman to be elected Senate President, I have seen extraordinary change over the course of my career, and I am energized and excited by the talented women in our community who are making a difference. When women are included not only as voices in the conversation but as leaders and pioneers we all benefit.

This International Women's Day, I was honored to be part of a global discussion at State Street about embracing equity in the public and private sectors. It was so great to share and hear stories of women succeeding and making positive change!

Our Commonwealth's history cannot properly be understood without recognizing the achievements and contributions of our Black residents, business owners, public figures, and trailblazers.

I am grateful to the committed residents who successfully advocated for the creation of Juneteenth and Massachusetts Emancipation Day, also known as Quock Walker Day, as state holidays. There is still so much more to do to ensure that the promise of liberty, justice and equity extends to everyone, and the Massachusetts State Senate remains committed to that work.

Reproductive Health Access

With the would-be 50th anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade decision this year, I wanted to reflect on the steps that the Massachusetts State Senate has taken to ensure that reproductive healthcare remains accessible in the Commonwealth.

  • In 2018, the Senate passed the NASTY Women Act, which removed unenforced and unconstitutional bans on all abortions, on abortions after the 12th week, and on unmarried couples using contraception.

  • In 2020, as the threat posed to women's reproductive freedoms at the national level became clear, I pushed for timely action in Massachusetts to enshrine Roe vs. Wade into Massachusetts state law—and joined my colleagues in the legislature in overriding the Governor's veto to make it happen.

  • And in 2022, following the decision in Dobbs vs. Jackson Women's Health Organization, we strengthened legal protections for abortion providers, out-of-state patients coming to Massachusetts, and insurers, and we made sure that Massachusetts courts will not be used to enforce restrictive abortion laws in other states. We also sent a strong message that abortion will be protected in the Commonwealth by including $2 million in the budget for improvements to reproductive health access, infrastructure, and safety.

As Senate President, I will never waiver in fighting for women in Massachusetts to be able to exercise safe, dignified, and informed choice over their own bodies.

For anyone with questions about specific cases, Reproductive Equity Now has unveiled a free hotline to answer legal questions about the protections for patients and abortion providers regarding their rights to access and provide abortions as guaranteed under Massachusetts law. 

Around the District

Center for Independent Living

While I felt my friend Paul Spooner's absence dearly, it was deeply moving to meet with the leadership of the MetroWest Center for Independent Living in Framingham and see the organization Paul built up continue to rally for people with disabilities.

Human Service Providers

In Massachusetts, our prosperity relies on human service providers that meet community needs with warmth and incredible determination. I met with members of the MetroWest Human Services Advocacy Coalition to discuss how we as a state can continue to support providers and their workforce.

Nero's Law

The Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department at MassBay Community College in Framingham was the first in the state to implement canine safety training based on Nero's Law, which the Senate passed last year. Thanks to the vets and EMTs who donated their time, and thank you for keeping our furry friends safe! 

Medway's Annual Legislative Breakfast

At Medway’s annual Legislative Breakfast, I joined a lively discussion on the Town of Medway’s priorities with members of the Select Board, School Committee, Finance Committee, and my legislative colleagues. Thank you all for your contributions!

MetroWest Food Collaborative

I joined a food insecurity summit in Ashland hosted by the MetroWest Food Collaborative. The collaborative is doing an invaluable service as a platform for organizations to work together to address food insecurity in our communities and provide insight into changes in levels of need and the people who need to be served.

I want to thank the summit’s keynote speaker, Congressman McGovern, for his consistent partnership in bringing federal attention to food insecurity.

MLK Celebrations at Islamic Masumeen Center

Martin Luther King Day celebrations across MetroWest were inspiring! Community, faith, education leaders, and students held thoughtful celebrations of what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy means for all Americans today and for generations to come.

Some of the celebrations my office attended included those at the Islamic Masumeen Center of New England in Hopkinton (above) and at the Greater Framingham Community Church (below).

Addressing Homelessness in Massachusetts

I discussed housing availability and protections for individuals facing homelessness in the MetroWest region with Family Promise’s new executive director in Natick. It was wonderful to see so many great minds working on solutions together!

Winter Safety Briefing

I joined Governor Maura Healey, Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll, Mayor Charlie Sisitsky, Representative Jack Patrick Lewis, Representative Priscila Sousa, Representative Kate Donoghue and others in Framingham for a winter safety briefing with the Department of Public Works. Thank you for keeping the lights on, the water clean, and our roads cleared of snow!


On The Record

On Channel 5's On The Record, I joined Sharman Sacchetti and Ed Harding to discuss our state's housing crisis and what the Senate has done to support new affordable housing.


Keller @ Large

I spoke with CBS Boston's Jon Keller about my priorities for the new legislative session, including free community college, working with a new administration, and more.


Job Opportunities

Work at the Senate through the Senate Page Program

The Senate is looking to hire pages!

The Senate page program provides State House work experience to students. Pages work in the Senate Office of Administration and Finance and will learn basic office skills, support Senate operations, and attend sessions of the Senate. This is an hourly paid position, and work hours are flexible.

Applicants must be enrolled in a community, state, or private college or university. If interested, please contact Bill Rinaldi, Chief Financial Officer of the Senate.  

DCR Lifeguard & Seasonal Job Opportunities

Despite the recent snow and cold snap, the team at the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) is working hard to recruit lifeguards and pool and waterfront supervisors for the 2023 summer season.  

Incentives include:

  • Sign on bonuses including early sign-on bonus of $500 offered to candidates who submit a complete employment application for the summer season by Monday, May 1, 2023. or a bonus of $250 will be offered to candidates who submit a complete employment application between May 2 and July 1, 2023

  • $500 retention bonus to lifeguards in good standing who continue to work for the department through August 20, 2023. Those that work through September 4, 2023 will receive an additional $250 bonus.

Joining DCR as a lifeguard provides an excellent opportunity for many students, young adults, and others to join the workforce each summer. 

In order to be considered, applicants must be at least 16 years of age by time of employment, complete lifeguard training, and must be certified in first aid and CPR.

DCR offers free training classes and certification to lifeguards who commit prior to the opening of designated swimming areas. More information can be found at mass.gov/lifeguards.

In addition, DCR has many seasonal job opportunities available this summer. Positions include seasonal supervisors, laborers/maintenance workers, park interpreters, program staff, golf starters, rangers, and tree planting staff to name a few. These positions are located statewide and more information can be found here.

Register for the Massachusetts State Police Cadet Program

Registration for the 2023 Cadet Exam is now open and ends May 5, 2023. The 2023 Cadet Exam will be held on May 20, 2023Learn more here.


‘It will happen’: Senate President Karen Spilka visits proposed stop on east-west rail



March 13, 2023

Massachusetts Senate leader Spilka shows support for East-West rail



March 13, 2023

Senate President visits Palmer to review potential East-West rail stop



March 13 2023

State legislators tackle supplemental budget


Telegram & Gazette

March 10, 2023

Spilka Shuffles Deck, But Leaves Leadership Locked In


State House News Service

February 15, 2023

Northeastern Law graduates are shaking things up in Massachusetts

Northeastern Law Review

Winter 2023

Prominent Massachusetts women gather for ‘Galentine’s Day’ celebration


Boston Globe

February 14, 2023

Spilka's love letter to a revolution



February 14, 2023

Healey meets with Mariano, Spilka for first time as Massachusetts Governor


Channel 5 WCVB

January 9, 2023

Senate President Karen Spilka urges state to make community college free


State House News Service

January 9, 2023

Spilka, Healey both pushing free community college


Boston Herald

January 9, 2023

Massachusetts Senate president discusses state's housing crisis


Channel 5 WCVB

January 8, 2023

Should Massachusetts Teachers Association have right to strike?


CBS Boston

January 8, 2023

Massachusetts Senate president recounts Gov. Healey's inauguration


Channel 5 WCVB

January 8, 2023

Spilka, opening legislative session, proposes free community college


Boston Globe

January 4, 2023

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