In the news
Senate selections
Good reads
2015 Was Hottest Year in Historical Record, Scientists Say
The New York Times
Scary stuff.  Fortunately, nations are starting to take collective action. Here in the U.S., with gridlock at the national level threatening to stall progress, Massachusetts should step up to lead the way on putting a price on carbon.  I've proposed a bill to do just that.
Uber Boston announces partnership with disability advocates
The Boston Globe

As businesses like Uber and Lyft take off, we need to make sure people with disabilities can come along for the ride.  I'm pushing to have any bill to regulate ride-sharing include simple but effective provisions for transporting each and every one of us.
On the web
Like me on Facebook
Follow me on Twitter
Be in touch
State House Office
State House, Room 416
Boston, MA 02133

Phone: 617-722-1572
Fax:  617-626-0898
Share this email
Dear Friend,

In 2014, by an overwhelming margin, Mass. voters passed a ballot question giving workers at large companies five days of "earned paid sick time" -- five sick days, with pay, to care for themselves or a family member.

But what about the challenges that last longer -- care of a newborn, an aging parent or a spouse with a serious illness?  You might need several weeks off, maybe more.  How does a person manage?

Earlier this month, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Labor Chris Lu came by the State House to support a Massachusetts bill put forth by my friends and colleagues Sen. Karen Spilka, D-Ashland, and Rep. Ken Gordon, D-Bedford.  A number of supportive legislators, me included, were joined by spokespeople for businesses -- Google, Spotify and InkHouse PR -- that offer generous "paid leave" policies.

Left: with InkHouse Founder Beth Monaghan . Right: Deputy Sec. Lu, legislators and business leaders speak in front of a huge crowd.  
Spilka-Gordon would grant up to twelve weeks of paid leave for serious health-related events, subject to protections for the impact on businesses.   The eighth biggest economy in the world, California, has a policy of this kind in place.  Massachusetts competes with California for the same highly skilled employees.  If the West Coast can make this work, so can the East.

Sen. Mike Barrett
VIDEO: Seeking balanced reviews of home insurance rates
Barrett speaks on the floor of the Senate
The State Senate just passed my amendment to open up -- for the first time -- home insurance rates to public visibility and review.  If the House and Governor go along, this will be a major win for homeowners, who are currently kept in the dark until after rate hikes requested by insurance companies go into effect.  Check out this short clip of my floor speech on my amendment.  And read the full article
Warm winter?  Lincoln's Ms. G is a contrarian. 

But it was so mild this weekend!  Still, on Feb. 2, our official state groundhog, Ms. G., saw her shadow, foreshadowing a longer winter.   A crowd of 400, including moi, came out to Mass Audubon's Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary in Lincoln to see the local celebrity.
A priority of mine for the upcoming state budget season
I walked the State House halls recently with Boston Bar Association President and Lincoln resident Lisa Arrowood.  We discussed funding for legal aid lawyers, who represent low-income people confronted with non-criminal crises like evictions, heating shutoffs and high hospital bills.
Catching up with the LWV
Many thanks to the Weston League of Women Voters for its recent annual meeting with legislators.  State Rep. Alice Peisch and I took questions on solar initiatives and rising health care costs, to name a few.  Photo courtesy of Katherine Wolfthal of the League.