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Waltham Tribune
Af ter 43 strenuous days of hospitalization and APL cancer treatment, Sen. Mike Barrett is happy to be back home with his family and back to work for his district.

The Bedford Citizen
Senator Mike Barrett and Representative Ken Gordon joined their colleagues in passing landmark criminal justice reform legislation that will lead to a more equitable system.

The Senate
The Boston Globe

Senator Karen E. Spilka  has the votes to be the next president of the Massachusetts State Senate. She will begin her tenure on July 23rd.
The Berkshire Eagle
After adopting an environmentally friendly provision, the Senate passed a roughly $1.8 billion housing bill that would recapitalize affordable housing programs and extend tax credits.
Worth reading
The Wall Street Journal

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Dear Friend,
As the Trump administration wages war on "net neutrality," we regular consumers should be scared, very scared -- even if we've never heard the term before.  As State Senate chair of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, I don't mind saying that I'm scared too. 

Just last week, at MIT, Tim Berners Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, joined an expert panel convened by Massachusetts' U.S. Senator Ed Markey.  Mr. Berners-Lee and Senator Markey used the evening to spread the alarm nationwide.  Here in Massachusetts, as a member of a special State Senate body charged with preserving the equal-access Internet for our state, I've been hard at work on the issue, too.

Today we take it for granted that Verizon, Comcast, RCN and other "Internet service providers" will allow us to call up, at will, pretty much every website and every service.  We don't appreciate that such even-handedness is required by federal regulation.  

The new rules, promulgated by the Trump-era Federal Communications Commission, will do away with equal access, leaving ISPs free to create "fast lanes" for certain sites and "slow lanes" for others.  "No lanes" are an option, too, meaning that Verizon will be legally free to black out CNN or the New York Times -- or your little startup -- or your feisty independent online publication -- unless the site meets Verizon's terms or the consumer pays more. 

In a recent State Senate hearing, I challenged the ISPs to disclose what they will do with their new powers if the FCC finalizes the arrangement.  None will admit to having any plans to change anything at all.  To which I say, "Well, then, support the State Senate bill to bar any alteration of the free-access Internet."  Ominously, this they decline to do.  

Stay tuned and stay vigilant.  I promise you that I will.


  Sen. Mike Barrett
State Senate Passes Student Loan Bill of Rights

I joined my Senate colleagues in voting to pass the "Student Loan Bill of Rights" this month, giving greater protections to student loan borrowers in disputes with companies servicing their loans.

Students working towards a college degree are facing unprecedented levels of student loan debt. While President Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos continue to stand on the side of the large for-profit student loan servicers, it is more important than ever that here in Massachusetts we protect our students from deceptive practices and misleading advice.
Under the bill, student loan servicers would have to apply for licenses from the state, which the Commissioner of Banks could revoke if the servicer engaged in abusive practices such as overcharging students or steering them into costlier repayment plans to make higher profits. Servicers that break state licensing requirements or take advantage of students could be fined and forced to repay student borrowers.
Barrett Supports 'Red Flag' Gun Laws

Reducing the staggering number of firearms and firearm-related deaths is the most pressing issue in the country right now.  

In light of this, I was pleased to see that the  Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security unanimously voted to move the Extreme Risk Protective Orders Bill (House Bill 3610) on to the next stage in the legislative process.

Extreme risk protection orders (ERPOs) enable courts to temporarily prohibit a person from having guns if law enforcement or immediate family members show that he poses a significant danger to himself or others.

It is inspiring to see how young people are stepping up and taking action on this issue - including a successful protest held this month at Brandeis University in Waltham.